RiTV plans Marathi channel for rural viewers

After a Gujarati and Punjabi channel, RiTV will launch a 24-hour Marathi channel during this fiscal year.

 The channel will however steer clear of the current crop of Marathi channels that cater predominanty to urban life styles and will instead target rural and semi urban viewers. It will include programming closer to the dreams, hopes, aspirations and lifestyles of this group, an official release says. Agriculture and rural development content will thus be the driving force for success, according to RiTV. The broadcaster also has plans to start a Metro channel this year, which will focus on the SEC A segment in Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore, a market which the company feels is ideal for a host of nice/exclusive, high profile brands.

The company will invest Rs 40.4 million in the Metro channel and Rs 20.2 million for starting the Marathi channel. The Metro channel will source content from all the three ad heavy cities, covering social events, product launches, local self government, law and order issues, business news and Bollywood news, according to RiTV managing director Subhash Menon.

RiTV also has commenced production of regional films for television audiences in Punjabi, Gujarati, Marathi and Hindi/Urdu, all of which will be premiered on the RiTV bouquet of channels, he says.

The company, which has firmed up plans of diluting 30 per cent stake is aiming to raise Rs 200 million this year. The funds will be used to launch the two new channels and create fresh software. The current fiscal will see RiTV producing 12 Punjabi movies and six Gujarati and Marathi movies each, a number that is expected to go even higher next year. The company has given the mandate for diluting stake to consulting firm Ernst & Young, which has valued the company at Rs 540.3 million. RITV has a programming library that comprises an estimated 3,500 hours of content, valued by Ernst & Young at almost Rs 90 million.

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